I’ve never understood CSUN’s supposed need to improve school spirit.
At this year’s freshman convocation, Associated Students President Miguel Segura challenged the incoming class to finally bring some school spirit to CSUN. It’s a common complaint and a pervasive, seemingly campus-wide sentiment.
I respect and admire almost every professor I have had during my three-year college career and I can honestly say that I will be a better person upon graduation. In that respect, I have school spirit. After all, I’m here to learn.
But I don’t feel the need to paint my face red and white and scream like a maniac at a sport event. I don’t wear CSUN apparel, I don’t have a university license plate frame and I have never attended a non-academic-related campus event.
Unless, that is, one counts my freshman orientation. Back in the old days, three years ago, CSUN didn’t have a freshman convocation with cool keynote speakers like Barbara Ehrenreich. Instead, freshmen were lead on a tour of the campus for an entire day by a bunch of hyper-preppy student volunteers. We played icebreaker games with other freshmen, watched skits about college life and viewed statistic-heavy presentations about how many people failed or dropped out of school. Then we watched the student volunteers flaunt their dance moves to some horrifying hip-hop music.
It was my first, and worst, day at CSUN.
There was enough school spirit packed into that day to last me four years and I hated it. One of the volunteers promised to have me dancing by the end of the day. She failed.
My antipathy to this nonsense is not unfounded. If people have fun displaying their school pride in such a flamboyant manner, that’s great. But I don’t enjoy feeling as though I’m being reprimanded for failing to behave like a CSUN cheerleader.
My school pride lies with the academic experiences I’ve had and the wonderful professors I’ve had the privilege to meet. It has nothing to do with one of our sports teams winning a match or the fact that Ludacris is going to perform. Those things just simply don’t matter to me.
For some reason a lot of people are upset by the fact that so many CSUN students are seemingly apathetic. I can’t figure out exactly why, but I suspect the feeling is perpetuated by those who are seated somewhere in the university bureaucracy. Maybe a more outward display of school spirit would allow them to feel more important, somehow in a more privileged position.
On the flip side, that sense of apathy may be because many students view CSUN as nothing but a stepping-stone to a career or a better school. I never bought into the ‘commuter school’ argument, which postulates that CSUN students don’t view the university as their home and therefore don’t care about it. Most students spend a lot of time at school, whether they live there or not. But many students are waiting breathlessly for that degree so they can move on with their lives. While I would encourage everyone to enjoy the ride, as I have, I certainly won’t verbally crucify anyone who refuses to deify CSUN.
I expect the same from everyone else. Drop the school spirit rhetoric. If CSUN is so ragingly wonderful, the pride will come naturally. No one can force it. So stop spending so much money on arts, fliers and the like. Just because my non-academic hobbies generally exclude CSUN doesn’t make me a disgrace to the Matador Kingdom. The same principle applies to my apparent lack of enthusiasm.
Although sufficient parking would probably make me scream with delight.